Health assessment in rural communities: a critical organizing and capacity-building tool Chapter uri icon


  • Assessing the health status of a population is one of the core functions of public health (Institute of Medicine, 1988). Done correctly, it can provide important insights into the factors influencing and producing health in a community. A community health status assessment is a powerful tool not only for identifying issues and circumstances that affect the health of a population, but also for community organizing and capacity building. In this chapter we present the basics of why and how to conduct a community health status assessment, particularly in the context of rural communities. We begin with definitions and a brief discussion of the theory underlying this process. Then we discuss specifics of an ideal community health status assessment and alternatives for when resources do not allow for the ideal.

author list (cited authors)

  • Burdine, J. N., Clark, H. R., Shea, L. J., Appiah, B., & Hollas, C. N.

complete list of authors

  • Burdine, JN||Clark, HR||Shea, LJ||Appiah, B||Hollas, CN

editor list (cited editors)

  • Crosby, R. A., Wendel, M. L., Vanderpool, R. C., & Casey, B. R.

Book Title

  • Rural Populations and Health Determinants, Disparities, and Solutions

publication date

  • July 2012